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New Iranian Weaponized Drone Deployed in Syria and Likely Given to Hizbullah

By DEBKAfile, & JTA

Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami said in a speech celebrating the new mass-produced weaponry that the new drones, dubbed the Mohajer 6 (Migrant) are "equipped with smart Qa'em precision-striking bombs and different electro-optical explorers and different warheads, [and] can trace, intercept and destroy the target."

Before the ceremony, the new drones were delivered last week to the Revolutionary Guards for their war efforts across the Middle East, especially in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have attacked US troops. DEBKAfile reports that the new weapons, which have a range of more than 900 km, have reached Syria and most likely Hizbullah as well.

Their main purpose is to arm Iranian and Hizbullah forces in Syria with their own air force capability and so reduce their total dependence on the Russians for air support. Iran recently gave the pro-Iranian Shiite militias fighting ISIS in Iraq a fleet of Shahed 285 light fighter jets, to boost the autonomy in battle of the forces deployed by the Revolutionary Guards.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Israel of "repercussions" following airstrikes near Damascus which it blamed on Israel.

In a letter to the UN Secretary General and Security Council President, quoted by the official Syrian news agency SANA, the Ministry claimed that on Wednesday morning a 3:42 a.m., the "Israeli occupation" attacked in Syrian territory, as Israeli aircraft fired missiles from the Lebanese airspace on an area near Damascus.

In the letter, the Ministry claimed that the Israeli attacks are proof of "the coordination, partnership, and alliance between Israel and the terrorist organizations." The Assad regime uses the term "terrorist organizations" to describe all the rebel groups fighting the regime.

"The Israeli occupation authorities' practice of state terrorism and its continuous coordination with the terrorist organizations, especially Jabhat al-Nusra and the terrorist groups associated with it, affirms unequivocally that Israel is an entity that renounces international legitimacy and poses a threat to international peace and security, and is no less dangerous than the threat posed by Al-Nusra and Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State -ed.)," the letter said.

The Ministry added that Israel's attacks are "flagrant violations" of Security Council and international resolutions. "The government of the Syrian Arab Republic reiterates its warning to Israel on the serious repercussions of its attacks on Syria, its continued support for armed terrorist organizations, and its continued occupation of the Arab territories, including the Occupied Syrian Golan, and it holds Israel fully responsible for that," the letter said, according to SANA.

The Ministry concluded by calling on the Security Council to condemn the Israeli attacks and to take firm and immediate measures to curb them, hold Israel accountable, and to ensure that it does not get away with its "crimes".

Syrian media claimed early on Wednesday that the country's air defenses had responded to what was described as "a new Israeli aggression" in the countryside around Damascus. According to the reports, an Israeli airstrike targeted a research center in Jamraya, located northwest of Damascus. Israel is not commenting on the report.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had a simple, straightforward message this week when he toured Israel's border with Syria and Lebanon with top security officials. "Our face is turned toward peace, we are ready for any eventuality, and I don't suggest anyone test us," he said Tuesday in a video message he posted on Twitter, the sound of helicopter blades whirring in the background.

The mixed message signaled Israel's ambivalence about taking on the terrorist group Hizbullah 12 years after Lebanon and Israel were left gutted by a summer war. The 2006 war was costly for both sides: Hizbullah, the preeminent militia in Lebanon, lost political capital for inviting a devastating response to its provocations along Israel's border. Israel's military and political class at the time paid a price for not decisively winning a war that precipitated a mass internal movement of civilians southward.

Israeli officials reject a permanent Iranian presence on its border — a message that Netanyahu delivered to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they met last month in Moscow. Hizbullah, intermittently, has also threatened to attack Israeli platforms in the Mediterranean extracting natural gas.

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